How Georgia Tech fans are feeling about Mercedes-Benz series

Georgia Tech opened its 2017 season against Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia Tech opened its 2017 season against Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

At least by the response to a highly unscientific survey, Georgia Tech fans are strongly in favor of the football team’s coming five-game series at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Fans were asked on Twitter and Facebook through AJC accounts to rate Tech’s agreement to play one game annually in the $1.6 billion stadium between 2020-24 – including Notre Dame in 2020 and 2024 and Clemson in 2022, with opponents to be determined in 2021 and 2023 – on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most in favor.

Out of 219 responses, 35 percent gave it a 10, 17 percent rated it a 9 and 15 percent graded it an 8. That’s 67 percent who rated it an 8 or higher. Of respondents, 16 percent graded it 1-4. The overall average score was 7.6.

“Exposure, money, recruiting,” wrote Bill Eidson, a Tech alumnus and season-ticket holder who graded the series a 10.

For those who were partial toward the series, benefits in exposure and recruiting – two reasons that athletic director Todd Stansbury cited for moving five marquee home games out of Bobby Dodd Stadium into Mercedes-Benz – were frequently given for their approval. Some also cited the expected increase in revenue, which was the original impetus for taking the 2020 game against Notre Dame to the Falcons’ stadium, an idea that grew into the series. Being able to purchase alcohol (only fans in premium seats can do that at Bobby Dodd Stadium) was another plus.

“I think it is GREAT!” wrote Matt Bryant (not the former Falcons kicker), who rated the series a 10. “This is perfectly consistent with everything Todd Stansbury and (coach Geoff Collins) have said about wanting to capitalize on everything the ATL has to offer prospective student-athletes. This is increasing Tech’s exposure on a national stage – you cannot BUY that kind of PR.”

“I agree that there is no greater place to play than BDS, the oldest and winningest stadium in college football, but @CoachCollins is doing a dynamite job doing things that will get recruits excited about Tech,” wrote Jessica Davis King, a Tech and past season-ticket holder who graded the series a 10. “This is one of those things. This will help build the brand.”

One Tech grad of note did not assign the series a score, but was nonetheless enthusiastic.

“I love it!” wrote former Tech All-American Ken Swilling. “Gives GT some great exposure and helps to grow the brand.”

Fans who were not enthused about the series largely had three reasons – taking home games away from Bobby Dodd Stadium, the risk of having a large percentage of Clemson and Notre Dame fans at a Tech home game and specifically not being able to watch the fabled Fighting Irish at Grant Field. Notre Dame will next return to play Tech in 2027.

“I understand the economics of it, but we just turned five home games into five road games,” wrote Michael Roman, a Tech grad and fan who rated the series a 4.

“Any move that helps our opponents’ chances to win and one that they will be excited about is a bad move,” said Mark Russell, a Tech grad and athletic department donor who rated the series a 1. “(Clemson coach Dabo Swinney) and (Notre Dame coach) Brian Kelly have to be thrilled with this decision.”

“I like the money aspect, as we are strapped for cash, but I think fan support must improve for it to be used as a recruiting or branding tool,” wrote Reeves Guyton, a lifelong Tech fan who gave the series a 5. “Also hurts knowing that my grandfather most likely won’t see another Notre Dame game at BDS.”

To whatever degree the survey is representative of the Jackets’ fan base, it may bode well for Tech that there is such enthusiasm for the games, as it could help address the concern of getting outnumbered in the stadium.

“This falls right into @CoachCollins plan to market and expose the program in the right way,” wrote Kevin Bailey, who gave the series a 10. “Now it’s up to us Tech fans to get behind him and pony up to pack out MBS!”

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